There aren’t too many good ways to slow down the NHL’s leading point man from a season ago. But already twice in the young 2009-10 season, Evgeni Malkin has been held off the scoresheet. However, there’s nothing like an Eastern Conference Finals rematch with the Carolina Hurricanes to get him going again.
As we all remember, Malkin registered nine points in the first three games of a series to remember with the Canes, including an epic hat-trick in Game Two at the Mellon Arena.
Although Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice had all summer to figure out how to stop the Conn Smythe recipient, they apparently had very little success. No. 71 bamboozled the Carolina defense for most of the evening, leading the Penguins to their fifth straight road victory.
When it looked as if the Carolina was finally gathering some momentum, Malkin brought the puck up the ice and feathered a pass to fourth-line winger Mike Rupp. Rupp then broke in alone, scoring his first of the season and first in a Penguin uniform.
But he scored another signature goal in the second period. On a give-and-go with Pascal Dupuis, Malkin rifled a shot top-shelf on Cam Ward from an acute angle leaving Ward to wonder what he has to to stop the man from the Magnetic Mountain.
Congratulations, Evgeni! You are the Comrade of the Night!